Are Educational TV Shows Effective Teachers?

Are Educational TV Shows Effective Teachers?

An analysis of the important role the media plays in our child's education.
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It seems like the perfect innovation: a device that provides entertaining, interactive education to your child 24/7 free of cost (with the exception of the monthly cable bill, of course), allowing you to safely plant them in front of the screen while you work or savor your free time. Since it's conception, the television has consistently been one of the most constantly-evolving pieces of technology; it started with the intent to spread news and entertainment to the masses and served little purpose beyond that, and was primarily intended for adults. This changed during the late-1940's with the creation of shows such as Kukla, Fran and Ollie, Howdy Doody, and Captain Kangaroowhich served the purpose of entertaining children rather than adults.

While TV was often regarded as mindless entertainment, this would change as a new dimension of children's media emerged in 1969; with the creation of the instant hit Sesame Street came a flood of innovative new shows for children that not only sought to entertain, but also to educate. While productive in theory, many parents debate whether or not this "hands-free" approach to learning is actually helping their children to grasp preschool concepts, or if it's simply a toned-down form of child neglect. Does educational television actually help children learn, or is it too good to be true?

The first benefit of educational television comes in the form of accessibility. A child coming from a financially-strained family may not be able to attend preschool (an issue I've previously tackled), but can easily turn on the TV to have access to similar knowledge they'd be expected to learn in preschool. The basic comprehension of numbers and letters, for example, is a fundamental part of childhood development, and though it's ideal for a physical entity, such as a teacher or parent, to teach these to a child, a parent may not have the funds to send their child to preschool, and may spend a majority of the day working. This is, of course, where educational programming has an advantage; it's accessible and reliant, providing an otherwise uneducated child with the information they'll need in a fun and interactive way.

Another major benefit deals with how vast and widespread television is. While this may seem like a drawback to many, as an overly-generalized approach can ostracize minorities, many educational TV shows have actually done the contrary. Naturally, education on certain topics differs between locations; a preschooler from San Francisco is going to lear about different societal issues and norms than a preschooler from small-town Georgia. My own mother, for example, grew up in a small village in Illinois during the 1970's, just a few decades after the ban (yes, ban) on blacks in the county was lifted. Naturally, the first time she was exposed to non-white individuals was through the media-- specifically, Sesame Street, which was famously known for being one of the first children's shows to feature a racially-diverse cast. This came as such a culture shock to the American population that Mississippi actually attempted to ban Sesame Street from airing in the state, fearing that it would confuse children seeing a fully-integrated cast. Racial diversity isn't the only area where Sesame Street has proven to be a positive source of societal progression-- also featured in the show was a segment about breastfeeding, a cast member with Down Syndrome, a muppet whose father is incarcerated, a song empowering natural hair, and even an episode that tackled the sensitive topic of death. For many children, this would be their only means of learning about such topics, as most preschools shy away from them. Introducing these topics also gives parents a great opportunity to discuss them with their child, giving the topics a preface and reason to be discussed. For minority children in less diverse settings, this can provide a sense of inclusion and representation; A young Mexican-American girl may consider the curious and corageous Dora the Explorer to be a role model, for example-- I personaly find Julia, the first-ever muppet with autism, to be a great example of representation for myself. Though reading, writing, and math are integral parts of education, it's imperative that children learn about the world around them and the people within it.

Though it's clear that TV offers an accessable education with different perspectives than a preschool classroom, what are the shortcomings of educational TV? Well, the main issue with it is that many parents rely on it to be their child's sole educator, which professionals strongly discourage; unlike a teacher, who can stop, repeat, and answer questions, the TV can only go forward,at a pace that may not be ideal for certain children. The child cannot ask questions on puzzling topics, which can lead them to either not grasp-- or worse-- misunderstand a lesson. Schools also provide social interaction, teaching children how to communicate and cooperate with other children and adults, which is something the TV can't provide; Schools give children a strict schedule they must adhere and adapt to, and teaches proper behavior and management skills. The child cannot learn from experiences from the TV like they can at a preschool, where many lessons and ideas are coneyed through the senses; all they can do is watch. Another major issue boils down to the unhealthy nature of watching TV; when a child learns in a school environment, play and physical activity are encouraged, while excessive TV watching can cause a child to become lethargic.

So, now that we know the pros and cons of educational TV, what can we take from this? Well, like most things, educational programming is good... In moderation; to properly learn, children need the aid of an adult who can discuss and explain concepts to them. In reality, educational TV is most effective when used as a supplement, rather than the primary source, of education. It's important that parents and teachers, rather than the media, lead the education of children. So, no, there's nothing wrong with your child watching TV, but it is important that you know what your child is watching, and provide further information on what they're being taught. As previously mentioned, these shows can spark a conversation between you and your child, and can give you the opportunity to teach them with a hands-on approach. This approach is supported by the creators of Sesame Street, who decided to air their episode about death on Thanksgiving, when children would be around many adults to help support their understanding.

In the end, it's important that we realize the importance of discussing things with our children, and guiding them through the world of education by hand, rather than by screen.

Cover Image Credit: http://extras.mnginteractive.com

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A Recent Sports Bra Suspension At Rowan University Has Gotten Female Athletes Outraged

A recent ban was placed on the Men and Women's Cross Country Athletes from using their designated practice facility.

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UPDATE: Following the publication of this article, Rowan University administration has released a statement ending the sports bra ban and a statement regarding the usage of athletic facilities by the Cross Country team.

If you're running in a sports bra, then you must be asking for it, right? Well, according to a football player at Rowan University, this is true.

I'll have you know the real reason women run in sports bras, and it's not to show off our hard-earned abs. Women, whether they have a six-pack or not, run in sports bras because, quite frankly, it's hot outside. We run in sports bras because our workouts are demanding, challenging, and vigorous.

We run in sports bras because we are confident, hardworking student-athletes.

We do not run in a sports bra as a way to show off our bodies in attempts to distract men.

Out of the 15 Rowan University Women Cross Country athletes, all of them believe running in sports bras at practice should be allowed. Even the girls who don't partake in shirtless runs at practice still believe the other members of the team should be permitted to wear whatever they feel confident in.

The Cross Country team at Rowan is one of the only teams that is not provided with a daily uniform to practice in. With that being said, how is it expected for the women on this team to partake in an non-existing dress code?

A meeting was held with the Women's Cross Country Coach and the Athletic Director to address this issue resulting in the verdict of the women on the team no longer being able to run in sports bras. If that wasn't already enough of an outrage, it was also decided the women were no longer allowed to run on the track.

Women running around the track in sports bras at their own practice were claimed to be distracting to the football players on the field during the same time.

As if the women no longer being able to run in sports bras wasn't enough, now they're no longer allowed to run on the track, period. The girls are now mandated to run on the local high school track on workout days.

In 2015, Rowan University officially finished their new $4.6 million athletic practice facility. The practice facility includes two fields for football, soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse athletes. There is a dedicated practice area for each team. The men and women Cross Country teams have their track. Now they no longer have that privilege.

The problem here is not the women on the team. The problem is not the women wearing sports bras. The problem is not women's bodies.

Rape culture is the problem.

The fact that the Athletic Department supports the claim of this being distracting, or the women "asking for it," is disgusting. Mind you, the Athletic Department put together a video involving student-athletes addressing rape culture and how it is not tolerated here. Oh, is that so?

"As girls, we could look at the football team and say that their tight pants showing off everything is asking for it, but we don't. When we are on the track, we are doing a hard workout that requires all our focus, so we aren't looking at them and what they are doing. If they are distracted by us, then their practices clearly don't require their full attention, or they just aren't as committed to the sport." -Anonymous source

In the world of professional athletics, all female Elite runners are permitted to wear racing crop tops. Not only are they non-restricting, but they are a trendy, comfortable, and empowering part of the running culture.

As women, we are constantly reminded that we should be ashamed or embarrassed about our bodies. It's 2018, and yet women are still being objectified with their physical appearance.

As a nation, we are taking a step back into history, and as a University, we are teaching student-athletes that this is acceptable.

The women on this team not only represent the University but the growing community of female runners. It's time women are allowed to embrace their bodies and not live in constant fear of being degraded by men.

Women, athletes or not, deserve to use their voice and take a stance. The future generations are watching. Let's set a good example.


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9 Things I Learned While Moving Into My First Apartment

Honey, you've got a big storm coming.

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If you're a college student like me, chances are you are going to be living in an apartment at some point to be near the school and experience living on your own. Even if you are taking a different route post-high school, you won't be a stranger to this new lifestyle. Whether you have plenty of roommates or are riding solo, the first few nights in your new home will be a mixed bag, but you'll get the hang of things eventually. I recently left the nest myself to land in my own place to live, and I have already learned so much more about adult life.

1. Things can get expensive pretty fast

money

Say it with me now: generic brand items are our friend. If it gets the job done, then you probably don't need to be spending the extra money to get something that is name brand. Remember, you have rent to pay now!

2. Stereo Guy will always have friends

noise

You may not hear them right away, but don't be too surprised if you're relaxing one night only to be met with blasted music (with much more lyrical clarity and less bass than last year's living situation).

3. Familiar items make a new place a home

furniture

If you're prone to getting homesick like I am, then fill your apartment with some of your favorite furniture or possessions so you have something that reminds you of home no matter how far away you are.

4. Then again, you'll be reminded of just how much stuff you have

overwhelmed

I hate to break it to you, but unpacking will probably take longer than you expect it to. My advice would be to focus on one box to completion so your mind isn't trying to find space for both clothes and knick-knacks at the same time.

5. It's OK to cry, and you should probably let it out anyway

cry

Bottling up your emotions is never healthy. You're going through a difficult transition and its inevitable to make mistakes, so don't be too hard on yourself and allow natural emotions to run their course before picking yourself up again.

6. You'll be surprised what chores come up way sooner than you thought they would

chores

First, you're going to develop a schedule for when you want to clean and how often. Now once you're moved in, throw that all out the window. Dirt tracked inside, dusty dishes, things to wipe off, etc.; these are just a few things you may find yourself doing within the early days of apartment-living.

7. You'll get quite the workout on move-in day

moving

I'm talking cardio, weight lifting, and a lot of repetition. Try to find out if your apartment complex has an elevator to go with the stairs, or else you're in for a long day.

8. Leave early to work so you have time to find a new route

driving

You don't want to start your work day feeling frustrated and worked up, so try to give yourself as much time as possible to navigate towards your place of business. As you continue to do this, try taking different but similar routes in order to familiarize yourself with the area if you're not a local.

9. At the end of the day, you'll be extremely proud of yourself and how far you've come

tough

I can do something as basic as making myself a hot dinner, and I'll be dancing around the kitchen saying "Look at that, kiddos! Look what I did!" You're going to have some tough times ahead of you, so celebrate the small things when you can. Eventually, you'll be saying something like "Wow, look who's doing taxes!"

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